Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Plans AWD Model S, Higher-Capacity Battery

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Elon Musk, product architect and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), confirmed that the electric car manufacturer is working on an all-wheel drive (AWD) version of its Model S sports sedan during a town hall meeting in Amsterdam.

According to Musk, the AWD version of the Model S will probaly be available this year or early in 2015, and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is accelarating its production for the Model X sports utility vehicle.

During the town hall meeting, Musk also informed the attendees that the electric car manufacturer is developing a higher-capacity battery for its vehicles. He said the new battery will be available sometime next year.

Tesla battery supply challenges

Last year, Thomas Fisher of Green Car Reports noted that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) might face challenges in the supply of lithium ion batteries if the company keeps its estimate in producing approximately 40,000 Model S vehicles in 2015. Fisher suggested that the electric car manufacturer may push the world’s supply of lithium ion batteries to the limit. Tesla is currently using 18650-series lithium-ion cells for it Model S sports sedan.

It had been reported that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) negotiated with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (LON:BC94) (KRX:005935) to supply lithium ion batteries as part of its strategy to diversify its supply chain. Panasonic Corporation (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) (TYO:6752) is the major supplier of lithium ion batteries for Tesla. The electric car manufacturer expanded its agreement with Panasonic to buy at least 1.8 billion battery cells over the next four years.

In November, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was reportedly considering the idea of building the world’s largest lithium ion battery factory.

Other updates

Musk also revealed that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is working on new seat designs for its vehicles,. According to him, the current owners of its Model S sports sedan will receive a seat modification in the future once the company introduces its new design.  It is unclear if the current owners of the Model S are not happy with its current seat ergonomics.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will also provide Model S customers with a software update, Version 6.0, over the next few weeks. The update include real-time traffic data and more control override, height, and suspension, etc.

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